Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating Disorders impact around 6.5% of the population – approximately 1.5 million people in the UK have an Eating Disorder diagnosis. This number, however, is believed by some to be an underestimation, and that up to 6 million people may be affected. Secrecy and shame are central components of eating disorders, meaning individuals can go many years before seeking treatment.


eating disorders

Eating Disorders are a paradox, they’re all about food and they’re not about food at all. The relationship with food can be a focus to cope with other underlying difficulties such as feelings of failure, childhood issues, low self esteem, social anxiety, depression, clinical perfectionism, trauma and emotional dysregulation. Eating Disorder treatment tends to be longer in order to address the root problems that may have pre-dated any eating difficulties.

Anorexia is usually the eating disorder most associated with eating problems due to it being very observable; it causes extreme weight loss, obsessional thinking, a huge fear of weight gain and a distorted body image. For many years celebrities with anorexia have made headlines but, despite media coverage, anorexia makes up for only 8% of eating disorders in the UK. The most common eating disorder is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).

EDNOS accounts for approximately 47% of eating disorder diagnoses. It describes a set of eating disorder symptoms that are atypical, and do not correlate with other eating disorder diagnoses. People living with EDNOS will find their relationship with food is central to their life. EDNOS involves a preoccupation with food intake, sufferers drift from one diet to the next and restricting, binging and purging may also occur, while BMIs may range from being healthy to obese. Bulimia Nervosa accounts for 20% of Eating Disorder cases and Binge Eating Disorder make up around 25% of cases.

NICE guidance recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-ED) as a first treatment for Eating Disorders. This treatment is at least weekly and can last up to a year.

Initially, the first job of your therapist is to help you feel comfortable and safe. Beginning therapy can be really scary and your relationship with your therapist is crucial. Time will be taken to really get to know you; the you now, the you before the eating disorder, and the future you. You should feel respected and understood by your therapist.

CBT-ED also helps clients to explore their motivation. Discussions about motivation are a really useful starting point, as many people come to therapy feeling ambivalent about recovery. This makes sense as Eating Disorders often begin as a coping response, and even the thought of change can be overwhelming. CBT-ED also helps to address Eating Disorder beliefs, behaviors, body image difficulties, meal-planning and underlying self esteem issues.

Why Recover?

With recovery comes Freedom.  Freedom from being constantly preoccupied with food and weight.  Freedom from being cold, tired and having a lack of concentration.  Freedom from shame. Freedom from thinking you’re defined by your body image.  Freedom to eat flexibly. Freedom to eat with friends and family without guilt.  Freedom to get to the future you deserve.

If you would like to access treatment for an Eating Disorder please contact me to begin your therapy journey.

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